This year’s edition of the Wembley Masters was more entertaining than usual. The old guard was out in full force, taking on young pretenders from far and wide. Steve Davis, who more or less invented the game, had a good start, sensationally dumping out the David Beckham of snooker and reigning champion, Paul Hunter. The 47-year-old veteran rolled back the years to reach the third round with a 6-5 knife-edge win. Only 2002 world champion, Peter Ebdon, at 34 no spring chicken himself, proved a number too big, ending Davis’s run with a 6-1 rout.
Record six times Masters hero, Stephen Hendry, was also present and in rampant form. The 36-year-old world No.3 stormed into the quarter finals with a 6-1 win over Stephen Lee, but then lost out to fellow Scot, John Higgins, who went on to claim his place in the final with a 6-3 win over Peter Ebdon.
“James Brown”, aka Jimmy White, added a bizarre touch to the tournament. Bidding to win his second title 20 years after his first, White has entered into a sponsorship deal with HP Sauce and changed his name to “Brown” by Deed Poll. White/Brown seemed to benefit from his change in personality after trailing 5-2 to Matthew Stevens, he recovered to take the match 6-5. He then went on to record a thrilling quarter final 6-5 victory over world No.2 Mark Williams – definitely a case of “Brown in the pink!”
Revelation of the competition was 17-year-old Chinese, Ding Junhui, who reached his first major quarter final with a stunning 6-1 win over Ken Doherty. A brilliant 141 clearance also put him in the lead to take the tournament’s 13,000 euros highest break prize. World Champion, Ronnie O’Sullivan, then put an end to the Chinese fairytale. O’Sullivan rolled over Higgins 10-3 to claim the title.